Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Sorry for the lack of blogging, but life has been in a bit of disarray this last week. I wish I had more fun stuff to post in follow-up to my comic, but that's not gonna happen just yet. Katie posted about some of this earlier, but I want to post a brief bit of info on mine:

Last Thursday, my dad went in for his regular two-month check-up, and they found that his cancer has aggressively begun to spread again. The cancerous “nodes” in his lungs are bigger and greater in number, which is bad enough. But the most upsetting thing is that it has re-metastasized into his liver in five different spots (“lesions” as they term it). There were none in December, but now there’s one that’s already about two-centimeters wide (and exactly what these things look like, I’m not sure). Needless to say, this is quite a shock- much worse than I anticipated any bad news would be.

Now, the corollary / ripple effect of this discovery is that Katie and I, after taking a long, hard look at the realities of this situation, have put on hold our plans to serve as volunteers in Africa and have withdrawn our applications from any overseas program to which we have applied. Also needless to say, this is also quite a shock. There was always a chance that we wouldn’t get accepted into any programs, but to have to end the process in this manner is really sudden. However, we both feel it is the right thing to do at this time. Africa isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

So our future plans (and NOT so future plans, ie, “where will we live in three months?”) are absolutely up in the air right now. Please keep Katie and I, my family, and most especially my dad in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, February 10, 2006

5 Days to Get There

5 Days to Get There
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
In 1999, I received a phone call from a Mr. Brian Floyd requesting my presence on a road trip that would take us from Jackson, MS to Los Angeles, California. Though quite well-traveled now, at the time I had very little experience outside of my home state. My interest piqued, I agreed, thus beginning a series of events that would ultimately put us in the midst of freezing rain, burning sun, earthquakes, and of course, Hollywood. The phrase “Five Miles from Yermo” will now forever be a part of our vocabulary.

Years later, with a few months spare time on my hands, I attempted to record the adventures for posterity. In trying to put down the adventures, the memories, and- well, the pure ridiculousness of it all, the project morphed into a comic book, and 5 Days to Get There was born.

Big ups to Fuzzy and FuzzyCo for hosting this comic. For those of you who have never met Brian Floyd and/or are curious about how true my rendition of Mr. Floyd is in this story, I can attest that my version of Floyd doesn’t hold a candle to the real thing.

And though this story has been a bit stream-lined, the freezing rain, burning sun, and earthquakes were there. Trust me on that.


Help Save the AmeriCorps*NCCC

AmeriCorps*NCCC Logo
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
OK, let’s get politically active! Katie has already addressed this issue on her blog, but I wanted to discuss it as well. Recently, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget has declared the AmeriCorps*NCCC program “ineffective” and recommends the program be terminated. Based on this assessment, President Bush’s proposed national budget for FY 2007 provides no funding for the continuation of the program.

I understand the need to use taxpayers’ funds in the most effective manner, but I also believe that a program such as the NCCC is not a program whose merits should be weighed solely on a monetary scale. The opportunities and experiences that the program provided for me, for Katie, and for countless others- not least of which are those on the receiving end of the community service- are hard to quantify. Regardless of whether you are an alumni or not, if you think that this program is worth saving, act now and contact your congressional representatives urging that funding for the program be reinstituted. This is not an over-reaction. This is a legitimate concern, and if not addressed, the program will be terminated.

Some helpful links so that you may make informed decisions regarding this program:

First, click HERE to read about the NCCC program. Not all AmeriCorps programs are in danger of elimination at this time, just the NCCC.

Click HERE to read a summary of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget review of the program. I’d like to point out that 2 of the 3 criticisms of the NCCC revolve around bureaucratic aspects of the program, not the intrinsic value. And the last of the three doesn’t say that the program is NOT achieving its goals, but that it is hard to measure the program’s achievement. I am OK with a program that may cost on the front-end if it reaps benefits down the road in a more active and informed citizenry.

Click HERE to contact your state’s elected officials. You should be able to drop an email message to your congressional representatives. Save yourself some time: write one letter, copy and paste it into the contact form for each representative.

Is this a flawless program? No, and I have no doubt that the bureaucratic system of the NCCC should be improved upon. Yet, you cannot improve upon something you scrap. Reevaluate it. Restructure it. But don’t eliminate the whole program. If you think the NCCC is worth saving, I do urge you to jump online and get the word out to Congress.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Comic Will Be Arriving Soon...

So my sister’s wonderful fiancĂ© Fuzzy has found time in his busy busy schedule to convert my comic book 5 Days to Get There into an online format and has hosted it on his website. Completed in 2004, the comic recounts the events (in a mostly true fashion) of a now LEGENDARY 1999 road trip to Los Angeles that I took with my friend Brian Floyd. A few collector’s edition hardcopy drafts have found their way into the hands of a lucky few, but even I don’t have a hard copy of the comic anymore. It has subsequently floated in a limbo of sorts, saved on my hard drive but accessible only on my computer, and not even in a particularly reader-friendly format.

But now, thanks to Fuzzy, the comic is now available to view online. And I am thrilled. It looks great to me. Yes, there are two or three typos, but I wasn’t exactly striving for perfection (as the artwork will attest). I will post the web link soon and will create a permanent link in my blog’s sidebar. I am creating its own post which will contain the link to Fuzzy’s host site, so if you read it and want to comment, you can do so. Feedback (good or not so good) will be welcome. SOON, my dear readers. SOON.

Catching Up

Well, dear readers, it has been a while. Since my last posting about my illness, I have indeed recovered almost completely, but my time has been absorbed with catching up on missed school work and major bouts of studying. I have reached a period with a little breathing room, thus, I blog. Many things to comment upon, so I will start with the Muhammed Cartoon Saga:

I'm not going to go into great detail on this issue, but I will say that while I am not one to want to promote the offense of any group of people, I must come down firmly on the side of the newspapers on this one. Offensive? Sure, I understand why Muslims would find several of the images offensive. Irresponsible of the offending newspapers to purposefully run the cartoons knowing that it would stir up trouble? Probably (though I am sure no one would have predicted the extent to which this debacle has elevated). But they do indeed have the right to do it. It's fundemental to the concept of fredom of speech. And in the grand scheme of things, they're not THAT horribly offensive. Click HERE to actually see the cartoons. (Be aware that the site hosting them can get a little obnoxious, though to his defense he hasn't burned any consulates down to the ground.)

Of course, the "offense" is only part of the issue, the other being the simple fact that an image of Muhammed was created at all. To those who call for beheadings and such, I have this to say: to understand another culture and respect it in co-existence is one thing. If we are to respect Islam, the norms of other cultures should be at least tolerated, if not approved of. To expect people to follow your rules even when they don't adhere to your belief system is quite another. (This could go for many groups of people, some in the US, by the way. Happy Holidays!! But I digress...) Simplistic, yes, but it really is at the crux of the matter.

With that being said, the newspapers who printed this are not spokesmen for the Governments of there respective nations, and it seems that this is a simple, obvious point that many in the Islamic community refuse to acknowledge. The press may indeed be a governemnt mouthpiece in many of the Midddle Eastern countries, but this doesn't change the fact that it is different for many democratic nations. I respect the government of Denmark for refusing to alter the reality of the situation in order to appease the cries for a full-fledged apology for DENMARK printing the cartoons. The sovereign country did not. And I ADAMANTLY hope that the EU doesn't apologize becasue they had nothing to do with the whole deal, and an apology would be setting a dangerous precedent.

Perhaps it is my cynical nature, but I fear that this is the other side of the globalization coin. We may find a "common language" in the flow of capital (which is in itself debatable), but the speed of media and the increased contact allowed in the modern world has created new ways for opposing cultures to face-off in conflict, whether it be a war of words or a war of guns. I hope this settles down sooner than later, but couple this with a history of often off-the-mark Western foreign policies, the victory of Hamas, and Iran's increasingly combative stance on EVERYTHING, and I think it's going to get much worse before it gets better.

Do I think Muslims are crazy? No, I don't. But SOME of them are. Some Christians are crazy, too. And i think in regions where there exists poverty, instability, and poorly educated citizenry, you will find a population easily influenced to rise against any target that can be construed, correctly or not, as a potential threat.

As per usual, Gashwin has some very good remarks on the whole ordeal.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

101.4- Classic Rock or Fever?

This title was inspired by a comment from my dad, and unfortunately it does pertain to fever. Monday I noticed I was sneezing a little bit, but nothing too bad. That evening Katie and I were watching The Constant Gardener (which really is as good as everyone says it is, Africa-obsession or not) and after another sneeze or two I commented on how I hoped that I wasn't getting sick. Skip ahead about 3 or 4 hours and I was sneezing, runny nose, sore throat- the works.

Long story short, it hit me quick and hard, and I have been down for the count for a few days, sleeping a lot and unfortunately missing all of my classes yet again. Not TOO terribly behind, but still, that's two absences per class within the first month of the semester. And the title of the post refers to my absolute worst moment, Tuesday night when I did indeed have at least 101.4 degree fever- the highest fever I have had for years. I may get sick a fair amount, but I'm not one too get substantially high fevers all that much. So anyway, hopefully I'll be back to blogging something more interesting than sunburns and fever spells soon.